Cornerstones 1/3: How A Loser Like You Made Friends

Wherein Rashmi and Sora pick on Mamoru for great justice, in an attempt to ingratiate themselves to Sailor Earth to see what the hell is going on with her.

Date: 2018-04-23
Pose Count: 38
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 15:13:18 90603
o/~ Korma Korma Korma Korma Chameleon~

Texts have been sent off between classes, and a 'study group' table has been reserved in the back corner of the curry shop. Already, Rashmi has set up her little book-fort in her corner of the table, and a pitcher of coriander lassi and three glasses occupies the table's center.

All is in readiness.

Just as planned...
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 15:15:59 90604
Sora arrives a little early, not much. She asks for Rashmi upon entering, and presumably gets directed straight to Rashmi, and so makes her way there. "Hey." She sits down and starts to get out her own books, her hand lingering briefly upon one particular book before deciding against taking that one out. "What's up?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 15:29:01 90605
The redhead looks up from a history text, smiling brightly. "Ah... Hisakata-san, welcome!" she chirps, managing a short head-bob of a bow from her seat, then gestures to the pale-green pitcher. "Have some lassi, and thanks for coming! We'll have snacks out soon, too."

Marking her place in her book, she sets it aside, placing a small sunburst-shaped charm with a red 'glass' gem set in its center onto the table. "So... Mamoru-kun said you were planning to draw Earth out at a party?"
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 15:32:30 90607
Sora mildly shakes her head upon being offered lassi, "That's kind of misrepresenting it? My birthday is coming up soon, and if I'm going to make Mirai believe I'm her friend it'd be weird if I didn't invite her." She explains her intentions, and adds, "I don't intend to start any fights, but if she does ... well then there's lots of people ready to respond, so I don't think it'll be a problem."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 15:43:02 90608
"....Y'know, that actually makes me feel better," Rashmi admits, pouring a glass for herself. "And sorry for the mistake, I was running off basically five text messages between the two of us. If it helps, I'm kind of glad you want her to have a friend. People look at me funny when I talk like that, and if she can come out of this mess with at least one friend, that's... good, y'know?"

Lifting a shoulder in a shrug, she looks up, adjusting her spectacles. "On the other hand... Mamoru-kun and I have kind of a sneakier plan. We're looking at getting into an argument. Once we know Earth's nearby to watch, that is. I have a lot of questions on where her powers come from based on what people have managed to pick up, but the only way I can know for sure is to be close to her... and the only way I can get close is to be in her good graces."
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 15:46:34 90609
"If I didn't have any friends, I don't think I'd have survived my stint with Darkness." Sora responds softly to Rashmi's first comments, a form of agreement and also a clear motivating factor. "I still have a bunch of friends who aren't exactly good people." Pause, "Like Riventon." She considers the plan a bit, "Hmmm. I guess I can work with that."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 15:52:58 90610
"And I'll always back Lacchan--Lacrima no matter what, even if we have to fight each other," Rashmi answers, nodding. "Everyone deserves to have friends, even if they're not making good calls right now. So... yeah. The plan is, Mamoru-kun and I get into an argument; publically, at least me in costume, where I openly talk about his lack of powers, and cast doubt on whether Earth is even right, and fly off in a huff. With Earth watching, I'm betting that she'll make contact, and we can talk, and I see what I can find out."

Pausing to sip from her lassi, she looks down at her charm for a moment, than back up. "To be honest... I really hope that she's just someone who's been confused and probably reprogrammed. Because if not... there are alternatives, and at least one is going to hurt the both of us."
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 15:58:02 90611
"Lacrima and I uh... we've done some bad things together. I worry about her." Sora admits two things in quick succession, but moves on to the other part. "I'd probably help with the argument without calling upon my magic. She doesn't know me as that, she knows Sora Hisakata. I'd like to keep that secret from her for the time being."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 16:04:34 90612
"So do I," Rashmi says, but smiles faintly afterward. "Little bit less now... I think her and Ariel-chan are a thing? And seriously, if anyone's going to be able to help her keep her head straight it's a literal magical unicorn princess."

Chuckling, she shakes her head, pausing the conversation as a waitress comes out with a large platter of triangle-shaped, steaming wraps. "Thanks, Fuchizaka-san!" she calls as the waitress leaves, and transfers one to her plate. "That's probably a good idea, though. But on the other hand, if she does know you know Mamoru-kun, she probably has at least an idea you're magical. If she doesn't, she will when you step into an argument with an actual mahou on the street. Would it be worth the risk to out yourself like that?"
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 16:08:11 90613
"She knows I know about magic. We've discussed it, but I've successfully pretended to be merely aware without being magical before. I mean, I managed to hide that I had magic from my own girlfriend even though she knew I knew about magic." Sora points out with a lack of concern, "We Hisakatas are Curse Hunters, even the ones of us that can't interact with most magic."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 16:10:14 90614
This earns a bob of the head. "Okay, so that's not going to be a surprise. I'm pretty sure Mamoru-chan would be fine with this, I kind of took a whole lot of time to make sure that however the argument went he'd be okay inside afterward. It's... well, it's going to make things at least outwardly difficult with the ECFH crowd until this mess is over, you realize."
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 16:12:42 90615
"The only of that crowd I really care about things being difficult with is Takeba-san. I'll be fine." Sora shrugs and leans back, ignoring the wraps entirely. She doesn't seem to acknowledge their presence, "Just got to make sure we don't cross the line from difficult into people getting hurt.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 16:18:24 90616
At this, Rashmi chuckles, bobbing her head. "That'll be easy; by now, everyone knows this is only a ruse, and it'll be dark looks and unhappy words in public, but that's as far as it'll go. Nobody wants anyone to get hurt at all, and frankly it'll only happen if Earth takes the first shot. Which is why I'll be best positioned to keep anyone from getting hurt. I'm a Device User, and Nicomachea and I have gotten really good at shunting fights half a dimension over."
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 16:22:22 90617
"See if you can make it to my birthday party? We could use someone who can do that. My trick for it... uh, relied upon magic I no longer have." Because creating a shadow pocket dimension without shadow magic is ... not really an option. "My birthday's on the 30th but I'll be celebrating on the 28th."
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 16:24:47 90618
"I'll definitely make the time," Rashmi answers, nodding firmly, pleased to be invited to a birthday party... even if it is one that could end in a building being cored out. "Thank you very much, too. Will there be anything I need to bring, besides a present?"
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 16:42:59 90619
"Nothing in particular. Just be ready for trouble, and it's at Mamoru's place so you know where to find it." Sora answers, leaning back and trying to think of anything else to say that might be relevant, "Do you have a read on her yet?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 17:00:12 90621
"Not yet, but Nicomachea will let me know when he does," Rashmi says, nibbling on her samosa. "You sure you don't want one? Mami grows the spices herself on the roof."

She seems about to say more, but the charm glows for a moment, giving off a soft *bing!* and all at once Rashmi's entire demeanor shifts. "Okay I'm calling Mamoru-kun over, she's in the area." A phone is extracted, and frantically tapped at. "....Now I just need a good excuse to slip out for a bit.... Right. Bathroom."

And with that, she slides out of her booth, charm in hand, opening a door that leads to a staircase up and out of the restaurant, still typing.
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 17:06:48 90622
"I'm not hungry." A common refrain from Sora of late, but fortunately there's a distraction. She gets Rashmi's text and uses that as an excuse to head to the counter, "I have to go. Can you tell Rashmi there's a family emergency?" Excuse to leave taken care off, she heads the right way.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-23 17:06:50 90623
And once they get outside, coming up the street is none other than Prince Hipster himself, wearing-- in the nice weather-- khaki cargo shorts and birkenstocks, along with a pale yellow t-shirt with a giant cassette tape on it wearing headphones. And a dude necklace. You know the type. A black string with a stone of some sort-- this one is apparently pink-- and knots to either side of it. He's wearing prescription sunglasses and unsurprisingly playing Pokemon Go. As planned, the Shitennou have either scrambled away from him into hiding or they've teleported nearby (also into hiding). He's so close they must have teleported him too.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 17:12:29 90624
It's not long after, that the late-afternoon shadows are broken by the glitter of golden light. Rashmi, in full henshin, with magical wings floating just off her back and ankles, flitters down to hang inches above the ground, a few paces away from Mamoru. Her book is held to her chest, and her entire face is set in an expression of sharp unhappiness. "We need to talk," she says severely, wings flicking to supplement her agitation.
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 17:13:45 90625
Sora also approaches, though she remains in the background for long enough to make sure Rashmi sets the tone. One does not simply march towards what looks like it may become a fight, after all. She does also look incredibly serious, however.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-23 17:16:59 90626
"Ra--" starts Mamoru, looking up from his phone when he hears her voice, expression brightening, then freezing. He takes his sunglasses off and hangs them over the collar of his shirt, then glances around. He sees Sora, then, and his eyes widen a little at the look on her face in combination with Rashmi's, and he looks back up at the flying girl. "What, here? Right now? Did I do something--?"
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 17:24:46 90627
"Well for one, why didn't you tell me about the tunnel?" Rashmi opens, angry and hurt, as a single word in English-like writing scrolls across Nicomachea's gem; << TELEPATHY >>.

Check check, Rashmi's voice says in the minds of both Mamoru and Sora. This is a telepathic microphone check, think back if you hear me?

"It's all over the news! I know there wasn't anything you could do, but there could have been if you still had your powers!"
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 17:26:39 90628
Can't hear you, Rashmi. Not at all. Sora thinks back as she slowly approaches, with the careful but curious gait of someone who isn't sure if this is about to get interesting or really, really dangerous. For now, she's still at a rather safe distance.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-23 17:32:46 90630
"I thought you'd heard already--!" protests Mamoru, looking dismayed, and then looking absolutely shocked. "I-- what? Do you think I *want* to be powerless? Do you think it's a vacation or something? They got stolen, and we're still trying to figure out how, so I can get them back! And I did everything I could, but even if I had powers, the only thing I'd've been able to stop was personally getting almost killed before backup came! He was really fast, and he shot out the ends of the train almost before I even knew he was there-- and you know I don't start fights!"

Hi! Also I actually did think you already knew, aheh, comes Mamoru's voice into the telepathic conversation, sheepish.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 17:38:57 90631
I heard about the tunnel, but not that you were involved. I'll want details afterward, and of course someone new had to attack while all this nonsense is going around. Hisakawa-san, would you mind helping me look into that later on? If someone can do that to a moving train, someone should get on it quick.

"That's the problem, though!" she says, her outside voice vastly less happy than her 'inside' voice. "You'd think something that major would have done something, as panicked as you probably were. It just doesn't make sense, if you even had access to power like that, something huge should have been enough for you to break the lock or whatever keeping it away from you!"

And here, her face goes from upset to something... sadder. "It just... It makes me wonder, y'know...?"
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 17:42:49 90632
"Oh it makes complete sense." Sora pipes up now that she closes in, folding her arms and speaking in a tone of accusatory confidence. "Power was never his to begin with, so if the stolen power is gone he doesn't have a wellspring of power to call upon in emergencies." She looks Mamoru straight in the eyes. Sorry. She thinks, And I'll help you look into it for sure, Terios-san.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-23 17:54:16 90633
Mamoru's face, generally either happy if involved in shenanigans, or regally serious if there's serious business, or reserved-- right now, it's defensive and flushing. He jams his phone in his pocket. "I did," he says too-softly, shame and hot embarrassment making his fingertips buzz. "I wasn't panicked, I was furious. I reached through layers of ice and thorns after he'd already drained most of my energy, and I leaned on the memory of my connections with the people who love me, and I pulled a rose from home and it gave my friends an opening. It took everything I had, but I managed it. It's not a lock, it's a mountain between me and the entire rest of myself, Rashmi-- what could you possibly wonder? Just what are you saying?"

And then Sora joins in, and he wheels on one foot so both of them are in his sight, and his posture is unmistakably defensive, as if he could physically stave off emotional and verbal attacks. His face twists in bitterness. "Oh of course you would be on her side. Believing her lame stories that literally don't make sense, that change from one encounter to the next-- I didn't steal them, I was born with them! And I remember everything-- and I remember it right. There was no Princess of Earth-- there was just me! This girl can't even make up her mind what she's claiming is hers!"

I can't-- actually two-track that well. I know it's not for real but I have to let my reactions think it is, so I'm going quiet.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 17:58:16 90634
It's okay. And again, sorry in advance.

"Yeah," Rashmi says, gently, but still unhappy. "But... all the rest of us have to go on is to compare what you say to what she says. And you've been great to all of us... but... what if you're wrong? You don't even have to be doing it on purpose, just... how do any of us know who's confused and who isn't?"
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 18:10:23 90635
"Her story makes much more sense than yours. You stole her powers, her friends, her memories; of course it means her own recollection is fuzzy." Sora answers Mamoru in that same accusatory tone, she walks a little closer, "Now I'll grant you the possibility that someone else stole them and just granted you those memories and powers, it'd explain a lot, really."
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-23 18:30:08 90638
"You can't steal friends!" explodes Mamoru in disbelief, furious and hurt, backing away from Sora's advance, from Rashmi's looming. "You make friends! She didn't even show up until like a year and a half ago, out of nowhere, attacking people and singing her one-note song about how I'm a jerk who stole everything-- I'm the one who pulled my Shitennou out of the Dark Kingdom, I'm the one who dreamt of the Princess since he was small, I'm the one who had nightmares about Beryl killing me to get to Serenity every night since I was fifteen, I'm the one who actually bothered to make friends with people, regardless of whether we'd remember a shared history later, instead of just showing up and attacking people and claiming they should be loyal to her instead. You can literally ask any of the other people who were there who's Endymion and who's not, and you can ask any of my friends except, apparently, you--"

He turns his fierce and breaking betrayed face on Rashmi, bringing his hand up over his headphoned cassette tape chest and taking another step back, "--who's the one who's actually done the things that earn friendship! How could you doubt me like this? How could you possibly say it's just her word against mine, when you know me better than that? I thought we were friends--!"

Then his face, as he tries hard not to let it get blotchy, as he tries and fails and tries and fails to calm himself down, shuts down at what Sora says, and he doesn't even have a fighting defense anymore, just a 'don't hit me' half-turtling withdrawal. "What do you mean, 'explains a lot'? What--"
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 18:33:10 90639
"We are friends!" Rashmi says, her voice breaking slightly. "We'd be friends even if neither of us ever had any powers at all, just... I don't know okay? I'm not part of your real circle, I don't have any of your history, and I can't jump on someone as a threat just because someone else says they're lying! It doesn't matter what my gut says, people have been wrong about what they thought was stone truth forever and making judgments like that almost always end horribly! I just... I have to give her a chance. I have to. It's not fair otherwise, y'know...?"
Sora Hisakata 2018-04-23 18:36:40 90641
Sora turns around and starts to walk off, just answering Mamoru's last question as she does so, "How a loser like you made friends. You picked up the skill to implant false memories from that." Bombshell dropped, she adds just one more comment, "Explains why she has trouble remembering how things went, too. False memories to mess with her recollection of events." Then, she apparently just walks off. The last comment is telepathic, and just one word. Sorry.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-23 18:54:09 90642
It's fine, I promise, Mamoru thinks at both of them, even if it's a little short there in their heads, clipped and preoccupied.

Meanwhile he's looking in disbelief at Sora's retreating back. He's almost 20. He's too old for this. He never let personal attacks bother him in public before, why should he be reacting so strongly now?

Because he's being kicked while he's down. That does make sense. He looks wounded at first, and then appalled. "I-- I couldn't even do that in the first place! And even if I could, I wouldn't! FINE! JUST WALK OFF! LIE ABOUT ME AND WALK AWAY!"

He rounds on Rashmi, and he scrubs at his eyes viciously and glares up at her, half defiant and half despairing. "I never said you should jump on her as a threat! She didn't even have anything to do with the train, as far as I know-- but she's stolen all my powers, why shouldn't she start stealing my friends? If you believe her, maybe you believe that too, and maybe that's why you're only deciding to give her a chance now that I'm a, a helpless waste of space, just another damn conniving bad luck orphan with anonymous bad blood, someone who's not even real... not back when she showed up and I was trying to give her a chance even though nobody wanted me to--"

He backs away another step, eyes widening again and breath catching. "Or is that what this is about. You found out about me not even remembering who I was when I woke up in the hospital, all those years ago... you think I'm the fake. But I finally did remember-- and it wasn't stolen!"
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 19:01:06 90643
"I don't think you're a fake," Rashmi says, her voice quivering. "I just... I..... I don't know you're not. Look just... let me do this, okay? Let me find out the truth. Whatever happens we're still friends, y'know? Whether or not you're Endymion we can still be friends. I just... I have to know. I'm sorry. I couldn't think of a way to tell you this easy. I'm so sorry."

And with that, she starts to drift up and away, scrubbing at her eyes with one forearm. "When I find out the truth we can talk all this over, right?"
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-23 19:06:59 90644
She's drifting away-- but 'we can still be friends even if you're a fake'? Mamoru stares at her, trembling for a moment, shocked silent. He apparently doesn't even hear the last part-- or he ignores it, because his voice actually cracks and soars like he's a younger teenager as he cries out, "Then you SHOULDN'T HAVE TOLD ME AT ALL!"

With that, he just turns and runs, the honest speed of a former sprinter in the track team.

Ouch, I didn't know I could still do that. There is honey tea in my near future.
Rashmi Terios 2018-04-23 19:11:36 90646
Hopefully in your very near future, Rashmi thinks, squeezing her eyes shut as she gains altitude. And lots of hugs from Kun-kun and Usagi-chan. Nicomachea's pretty sure he can keep this link going as long as I'm in sight of the tower, so I'll probably wait on a rooftop a couple blocks away.

And she does suit deed to word, alighting on the edge of a tall building, looking with regret in the direction of a particular well-used balcony.

Also, ugh, I feel so dirty. I'd rather be fighting Kaiju Mr. Squiggles again.
Mamoru Chiba 2018-04-23 19:14:57 90647
Or Lacrima's giant evil ham sandwich, Mamoru thinks as he runs to meet the others, not far from him. Your gift of good food was so vastly appreciated after that, holy shit. Don't worry about it, though, I'm pretty good at detaching-- I really owe you a lot, Ra-chan. Don't let me distract you from her-- I'm fine. I just got to them.